We‘re not on a tour. Of course, one of the drawbacks of being on your own is that you have to figure everything out on your own. And we couldn’t figure out where Hadrian‘s Wall was. There were numerous signs, but they didn’t seem to get us there. We finally found a Roman fort and stopped to see what it was, and maybe if they could tell us where the Wall was. And luckily, we picked the very fort that borders the only section of the Wall that you can actually walk on.
Hadrian‘s Wall was built on the order of the Emperor Hadrian, following his visit to Britain in AD 122. It was planned as a continuous wall with a milecastle every Roman mile (approximately 4850 feet) and two turrets equally spaced between each milecastle. The Wall stretched from coast to coast, approximately 75 miles. It formed the then northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. The Housesteads fort is the best preserved of all 16 forts on Hadrian‘s Wall. The fort was begun around AD 124 and was occupied for about 280 years by up to 800 auxiliary soldiers.
We spent our first two nights in the quaint Gap Cottage. We eventually discovered that it was just steps away from the Hadrian Wall Path, which follows Hadrian’s Wall for most of its length. The Path is one of many National Trails in the UK, and wherever the path crosses a fence, there is a ladder so that you can climb over the fence without danger of leaving a gate open. It was just a short walk through the sheep fields to Milecastle 48, also called Poltross Burn.